Second-ranked Carlos Alcaraz eased to his 12th semifinal appearance of the season with a 6-4, 6-2 win over seventh-seeded Casper Ruud at the China Open on Monday.
The top-seeded Spaniard recovered from falling a break behind in the first set before he overpowered Ruud with 30 winners and four breaks of serve to advance.
“To be able to beat a player like Casper in straight sets is really good,” Alcaraz said. “It means you are playing well. It is really tough, big rallies at the beginning of the match, but I am really happy with the level.
“Being able to find solutions after the start of the first set. These kind of matches give you extra confidence.”
Alcaraz will meet sixth-seeded Jannik Sinner in Tuesday’s semifinals after the Italian downed Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
World number three Daniil Medvedev also booked his place in the semifinals with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 victory over France’s Ugo Humbert.
An error-strewn first set saw a combined five breaks of serve but Medvedev edged ahead in the ninth game and finished it off with an ace.
Both men were more consistent in set two until the Russian, at deuce, hit back-to-back double faults to hand the crucial break to Humbert.
But Medvedev finally tightened up in the decider, notching two quickfire breaks before seeing out the match on his serve.
The 27-year-old will battle it out with Germany’s Alexander Zverev for a place in the final.
Medvedev again attributed the see-saw victory to the match balls, which he has said fluff up too quickly and can lead to lengthy rallies.
“It’s very slow,” he told a post-match news conference.
“(On) any other normal hard court with normal balls, no chance I win the match like this. No chance I would lose my serve so much,” he said.
“It’s great that I managed to still find, in this tough match, these moments of consistency -- which was enough to win.”
Zverev, ranked number 10, edged a tight encounter with Chilean Nicolas Jarry 6-1, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3.
World number two and tournament favourite Carlos Alcaraz is due to play his quarter-final against Casper Ruud on Monday evening.
Top-ranked men’s player Novak Djokovic is not playing the China tournaments this season.
Swiatek, Gauff progress
In the first round of the women’s draw, world number two Iga Swiatek defeated Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo in straight sets.
The Pole, who recently relinquished her hold on the number-one spot to Aryna Sabalenka, enjoyed considerable success at the net on her way to a 6-4, 6-3 victory.
Swiatek will play France’s Varvara Gracheva in the second round.
“I feel like I was pretty patient. You have to be patient with her because she’s running for every ball,” the 22-year-old said after the match.
“I kind of wanted to just be solid and be intensive but not make too many mistakes with risking,” she said.
“I’m pretty happy I could balance that. It just worked, so I’m happy.”
Teenage star Coco Gauff survived a minor scare on the way to a 7-5, 6-3 defeat of Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova.
The US Open champion was 4-0 up but allowed Alexandrova to level before ripping a backhand winner down the line to break serve and take the first set.
She fared better in the second, picking up a break midway through and seeing out the match with ease.
World number seven Ons Jabeur beat American Ashlyn Krueger 6-3, 6-4 to set up a second-round match against Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk.
Sabalenka knocked out former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin on Sunday to seal her spot in the second round.
The China Open is taking place for the first time since 2019 after Beijing abandoned its long-standing zero-Covid policy.
(with inputs from Reuters)
- IND vs AUS, 3rd T20I: With so much dew even 14 runs per over would have been chased, says Gaikwad defending Prasidh and co.
- India’s Ashwal Rai, Muthusamy urge home support during Volleyball Club World Championships 2023
- Vijay Hazare Trophy 2023 LIVE Score, Round 4: Baroda 40/3 in 167-run chase vs TN; Mumbai beats Pondicherry by 7 wickets; Saurashtra eyes big win vs Odisha
- Barca has shown ‘winning mentality’ in Champions League, says Xavi
- Pakistan players told to put country before franchise leagues under new team director Hafeez